December 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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The Mark of The Beast. What Is It? Part 4

(cont'd from page three)

What is a Mark?

The "Mark" of the Beast is merely its symbol, its identifying sign, or its label. It is a counterfeit for the "mark," or the identifying SIGN between God and His people.

As we have seen, Almighty God established a SIGN, an identifying symbol, for His chosen people!

The identifying SIGN God placed upon His people Israel was that of His weekly and annual Sabbaths! A complete list of all of God's Sabbaths, both weekly and annual, is found in Leviticus 23.

Remember, the Sabbath was made when man was made, at creation!

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
"And on the seventh day God [Elohim: the One who became Jesus Christ; John 1; Hebrews 1] ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:1-3).

Your Bible plainly tells you that the God of the Old Testament, the One who created the universe, the solar system, the earth and all that is in it; the God who spoke to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; who spoke to Moses, and wrote the Ten Commandments [including the FOURTH commandment to KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY], is the member of the divine Family who became Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary!

Notice further proof:

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, BY WHOM ALSO HE MADE THE WORLDS; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high..." (Hebrews 1: 1-3).

The One of the God family, ELOHIM, who MADE THE SABBATH DAY, is none other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth— So SAYS YOUR BIBLE!

God says, "For I AM THE EVER-LIVING [Eternal!], I CHANGE NOT; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Malachi 3:6).

God is consistent. He does not CHANGE His holy laws to suit human rebellion. God does not conveniently alter His precepts to conform to the changing codes and mores of society; to accommodate the whims of carnal, lusting, sinning mankind!

It was the member of the Godhead who became CHRIST who created the Sabbath! No wonder then, that Jesus proclaimed,

"The Sabbath was MADE FOR MAN, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is LORD also OF THE SABBATH DAY!" (Mark 2:27, 28).

Which day, then, is "the Lord's Day"? Why, the SABBATH day, of course! There are only seven places in the entirety of the New Testament where the term "first day of the week" is used. For a thorough understanding of each, and PROOF that the Bible does NOT AUTHORIZE SUNDAY WORSHIP, I strongly urge any serious student of the Bible to read Dr. Samuele Bacchiochi's book From Sabbath to Sunday, which represents perhaps the most thoroughly documented work on the history of the CHANGE by the Roman Catholic Church from God's Sabbath day to the observance of the DAY OF THE SUN, named after the SUN god, instead of the Son of God!

In its introduction, Dr. Samuele Bacchiochi's book, From Sabbath to Sunday, says: "The investigation shows that the adoption of Sunday in place of the Sabbath did not occur in the primitive church of Jerusalem by virtue of apostolic authority, but approximately a century later in the Church in Rome. An interplay of Jewish, pagan and Christian factors contributed to the abandonment of the Sabbath and adoption of Sunday observance instead." I would urge anyone reading this booklet who considers himself a scholar of any stature whatsoever, and who may be tempted to reject some of the premises presented herein to obtain and study, thoroughly, a copy of Dr. Samuele Bacchiochi's book.

It was printed by the Pontifical Gregorian University Press in Rome, 1977; copies are available by writing to the author, 4569 Lisa Lane, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103.

The dozens of sources quoted, the scope and breadth of the research, the painstaking system and thoroughness with which the book is presented are positively conclusive.

It is demonstrated, for example, that it was the policy of Emperor Hadrian to prohibit the Jews to practice their religion, particularly their two characteristic customs, the Sabbath and circumcision.

Hadrian's persecutions were catalytic to the gradual rejection by the apostate church of all that was considered "Jewish," most especially the weekly Sabbath and the Passover.

Bacchiochi writes: "The fact that as a result of Hadrian's edict Judeo-Christian members and bishops were replaced by gentile ones, indicates that a clear distinction was made at that time between the two. We would assume that the distinction was limited not only to the racial factor, but that it included also a new theological orientation in particular toward characteristic festivals such as Passover and the Sabbath. This hypothesis is supported by the testimony of Epiphanius who in his lengthy report about the controversy over date of the celebration of Passover states: `The controversy arose [literally, was stirred up] after the exodus of the bishops of the circumcision [A.D. 135] and it has continued until our time.' The bishop makes special reference to the fifteen Judeo-Christian bishops who administered the Church of Jerusalem up to A.D. 135 and who up to that time had practiced the quartodeciman Passover [the Passover on the 14th of Nisan!] since they base themselves on a document known as the apostolic constitutions—where the following rule is given: `You shall not change the calculation of time, but you shall celebrate it at the same time as your brethren who came out of the circumcision. With them observe the Passover'" (From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 161,).

Where the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) laid the groundwork for the ultimate expunging of all traces of "Jewishness" from the doctrines and customs of the church, the Council of Laodicea (whose date is a subject of some controversy), positively confirmed it.

Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea said: "...Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lord's day [Sunday] and, if possible, not work on it, because they are Christians."

For some period of time, because of the growing confusion in the apostate church, both the Sabbath and Sunday were being observed. Two contemporary ancient historians, Sozomen (who lived about A.D. 440) and Socrates (who lived about A.D. 439) documented this dual observance.

Socrates wrote: "Although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [the Eucharist] on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this." (From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 196).

Notice! These historians, writing more than four centuries after the time of the resurrection of Christ, more than twice the length of time the United States has existed as a nation, admit that "almost all churches throughout the world celebrate ... the Sabbath…."

Sozomen also wrote, "...the people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath as well as on the first day of the week..." (Ibid. p. 197).

Any serious student of ecclesiastical history MUST read Dr. Samuele Bacchiochi's book From Sabbath to Sunday. The absolute documentation of how Easter was substituted for the Passover, how Sunday was substituted for the Sabbath is totally conclusive!

Remember, God established His Sabbath day as the great IDENTIFYING SIGN, like a stamp, symbol, label, or MARK between Himself and His people! But wait! He said SABBATHS, PLURAL! Naturally He would have! For God also gave His people Israel a series of seven annual Sabbaths, holy days, which progressively, as the seasonal changes unfolded, opened up and revealed God's marvelous plan for humankind, the very plan of salvation!

Christ said, "The Sabbath was made for man..." (Mark 2:27).

The Sabbath is something which was MADE. It was created time, made HOLY by the Eternal Creator, who injected His very presence into that day, resting from His creation, giving this span of time to mankind for a great blessing; a day of complete REST from his labors, a day of rejuvenation, rehabilitation; a day to contemplate creation, and God's handiwork;
to pray, study, fellowship with brethren of like mind—a day of worship toward God.

The Sabbath was made during creation week; it was made when man was made. It was made for MANKIND, not "for the Jews!" No one called a "Jew" (from "Yehudi," or "Judah," the eponymous ancestor of all Jews) was ever in existence until the children of Jacob (Israel) were born! Yet, the Sabbath had been in force and effect for thousands of years! The Sabbath LONG predates Sinai.

God established the Sabbath as a SIGN, like a symbol, or an identifying label; a "mark" of IDENTITY between Himself and His people! He knew if they continually remembered His Sabbath day, it was pivotal to remembering Him as CREATOR—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Though the Jews rejected Christ, they have clung tenaciously to the Old Testament scriptures, to the weekly Sabbath, and to the annual Sabbaths.

The Jewish people have never lost sight of the Sabbath day! The weekly cycle is nowhere observable in nature. There is no movement of the planets, sun, moon, or stars; no movement of the earth which indicates which is the day of the week. The Sabbath was established at creation by the One who became Christ, given again to Israel in the Decalogue, and has never been lost.

When Israel obeyed God, keeping His Sabbaths, they were blessed. When they broke His Sabbaths, and turned to idolatry; usually SUN worship in some form, they were cursed; plagued; overcome by warring neighbors.

Throughout the history of the northern ten tribes, the House of Israel, God pled with them to return to Him, to forsake their idols, lest they suffer unbelievable penalties—the curses that come as a natural result of breaking God's laws—plus invasion by foreign armies; captivity, being reduced to slaves once again! But they would not listen.

Eventually, in successive waves of invasion, the Assyrian armies under Shalmanezer took the Israelites into captivity!

"Therefore the Eternal was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only!" (II Kings 17:6-18).

The nation of Israel was removed for Sabbath breaking; for abandoning God's weekly and annual Sabbaths, which would have kept them in the knowledge of God's plan, His PURPOSE for human life. By rejecting the identifying SIGN between them and their God, they lost sight of the fact that He is CREATOR of all things, and turned to idolatry; to sun worship.

Having rejected the identifying SIGN God had placed upon them, they became quite literally LOST from history! Millions suppose Americans are "Gomer," of gentile stock! Only a small minority understand the true identity of Britain, the United States, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, and portions of France and Switzerland, as well as members of the Commonwealth!

By the time of Christ, ten-tribed Israel had disappeared from history. Only a tiny handful of peoples from a couple of the tribes are ever mentioned: Anna, who was of Asher, and Paul, who said he was from Benjamin, who originally shared common borders with Judah.

But the Jews never became lost to history, because, even though they also went into idolatry, even though they suffered seventy year's captivity in Babylon for their great national sin, they never abandoned the weekly Sabbath, or the annual Sabbaths! They retained the SIGN God had placed upon His people!

Every time there was a restoration of truth—national repentance because of the decree of a righteous king, like Josiah—the people got back to God's Sabbaths, to His Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, to the annual Sabbaths, which keep us in mind of God's PLAN.

Now, let's understand! The Mark of the Beast is not something which can be surreptitiously placed upon you.

You Can Refuse the Mark!

In vision, John was projected forward in time, forward into our century and beyond—into the time of the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs, and the Day of the Lord.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of Revelation, John records his visions of the salvation of the saints of God, and the outpouring of God's wrath on sinning mankind during the seven last plagues.

Notice the description of the saints: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints..." (Revelation 15:2-4).

Who are these? Why, they are the resurrected saints! They are the "firstfruits" of the earth, the last living generation of Christians, together with all those who had died previously, but who are resurrected at Christ's coming! (I Thessalonians 4:16-18). They represent ALL TRUE, GOD-FEARING, BIBLE-BELIEVING CHRISTIANS. This vision is not portraying just a small PART of the saints of God, but is showing ALL the saints!

Christ will RETURN TO THIS EARTH soon—very, very likely, in YOUR LIFETIME! At the time of this great event, millions of saints will be resurrected; countless others will be instantaneously CHANGED. John's vision shows them standing on a "sea of glass," or translucent, crystal-like material before God's throne. Standing upon it was a vast multitude of resurrected, spirit-born saints, now risen from the dead, or instantaneously CHANGED from flesh to spirit, at the precise moment of the Second Coming of Christ (I Corinthians 15:50-52).

This represents all the church, the TOTALITY of the firstfruits of the earth, the great FIRST RESURRECTION! This is not some isolated, small group who had some special mission to accomplish, some special problem to overcome. No, it is the great FIRST RESURRECTION; it is all the saints, who are pictured standing before the throne of God, singing the exultant Song of Moses!

And what is their description? They are those who have gotten the victory over the BEAST, and over his IMAGE, and over his MARK, and over the NUMBER OF HIS NAME!

Question: If you do not know who, or what this beast really IS; if you are ignorant of what is his IMAGE; if you do not know what is his MARK, then HOW CAN YOU GET THE VICTORY OVER IT?

It is obvious that the image and the Mark of the Beast is something of ancient origin, yet something which continues right up until the Second Coming of Christ!

Are YOU one who is conscious of the daily struggle against the Mark of the Beast; against his image; against his name, and the number of his name? If you are a Sabbath-keeping wage-earner, striving to feed and clothe a family in a SUNDAY-OBSERVING world, you are VERY aware of such a struggle!

Countless thousands have had to forsake jobs which required them to work on the Sabbath, which is the BUSIEST SHOPPING DAY OF THE WEEK! In a Sunday-observing world, it is sometimes virtually impossible to "buy or sell," or to maintain a job or a business if you decide to OBEY GOD and keep His Sabbaths! Countless numbers of school children, whose parents ask that they be excused from school to observe God's holy days, have been shamed, humiliated; have had their grades lowered; have been penalized for unexcused absences.

Thousands have approached their employers, asking if they would be able to work on Sundays, or on holidays, but have their Sabbaths off from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, and have been refused! It is THEN that one knows what it means to RESIST THE MARK OF THE BEAST! His stamp; his identifying label of the day of the SUN is everywhere in western professing Christian societies.

Millions are deceived! Many believe the Mark of the Beast is yet some future development, a national identity card, or an invisible tattoo, or a microchip implanted beneath the skin, or a plastic credit card. All of this is nonsense! Those who believe such things know nothing of the Bible, of history, or of prophecy! The Mark of the Beast is something which a Christian may consciously refuse, even under pain of martyrdom! No civil power can forcibly take salvation from you, cause you to be a recipient of God's wrath—the outpouring of the seven last plagues! It is only those who refuse to OBEY GOD, and who choose, instead, to go along with the ways of this present world, who will come under God's great WRATH, and be exposed to the great PLAGUES He will send on this earth.

How do you feel when a loved one is angry with you? When a husband, wife, son or daughter, close family member, or someone on the job is wrathful toward you? Naturally, you're upset, uneasy, perhaps depressed, fearful. But what if you knew ALMIGHTY GOD IN HEAVEN ABOVE IS FILLED WITH WRATH TOWARD YOU?

He is WRATHFUL against all who revere the Beast, who worship his image, and who receive his mark, or the number of his name!

How many Christians do you know who are truly AWARE in a daily, workaday sense, of just WHAT IS THE BEAST, who or what is his image, what is his mark, or the number of his name?

As shocking as it may seem, there are MILLIONS of professing, church-going "Christians," who believe they have salvation, but who are actually PART OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST; who joyously receive his MARK as part of their very life's fabric, but who are completely deceived; who do not KNOW they are locked into a Babylonish MYSTERY religion!

Continued on page five

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